Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Stanford professor Steve Blank challenges innovation frenzy among big companies
When it comes to innovation, Stanford Professor Dr. Steve Blank is considered one of the world’s most influential thought leaders. In the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management’s “Most Awesome Founder Podcast”, he explains why he considers many entrepreneurial activities of large companies to be “innovation theater”. To really drive innovation, he recommends an alternative approach.
Düsseldorf/Vallendar. Innovation labs, accelerators, incubators – what at a first glance looks highly innovative and is rather associated with the start-up scene is now also frequently used by large and established companies. These and other lofty-sounding activities are intended to keep companies competitive through disruptive change. Steve Blank, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Stanford professor, and author, claims that this is often much ado about nothing. Hardly any real new developments are triggered by such acitivities. The 67-year-old professor explains his point of view in „The Facade of Innovation”, the newest episode of “WHU’s Most Awesome Founder Podcast”.
Through numerous observations in his entrepreneurial life, Blank has found that alledged innovation initiatives often only serve to portray the company as highly innovative. In reality, the activities rarely have practical relevance and do not have any impact on customer offerings. Companies have understood that they have to bring about fundamental technological changes instead of only developing existing products and processes further. What they forget is that start-ups work under completely different conditions. In many respects, they can act more flexibly. As a result, large companies merely copy start-ups in their approaches with limited success.
In WHU’s podcast, Steve Blank also explains how companies can avoid such „innovation theater.“ Moreover, he points out three measures that can actually help in achieving fundamental innovation. For exmaple, he states that the management needs to present a comprehensible vision of why it believes disruptive change is necessary. In addition, it is important that initiatives which are aimed towards this kind of innovation are separated from the corporate’s core activities.
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About Steve Blank
Steve Blank is professor at the department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University (USA). During his career, he was the co-founder of eight different companies and worked in the Silicon Valley. Steve Blank is the inventor of the Lean Start-up approach, which can shorten product development cycles and quickly reveals if a proposed business model is viable. Harvard Business Review listed him as one of the “12 Masters of Innovation” and CNBC voted him among the “11 Entrepreneurs Teaching the Next Generation.”
About WHU’s Most Awesome Founder Podcast
The Most Awesome Founder Podcast is brought to you by the Chair in Entrepreneurship and New Business Development at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. The business school is renowned for its excellence in entrepreneurship and has received a lot of praise for its young founders and successful start-ups over the past years. WHU has developed the first Master of Science program in Germany for entrepreneurs – the Master in Entrepreneurship, which aims to educate the entrepreneurs of the future.